Putting pen to paper

Somehow over the years I became a pen and notebook fiend. Well okay a snob of sorts. I am picky about the notebook (spiral versus bound versus so many other options). If I use a spiral notebook it has to have a double spiral. The paper matters too. I do not want thin paper where the ink seeps through. What is printed on the also paper matters. I am not a fan of ruled lines, as it makes me feel I have to keep between the lines and whether it is college or wide, oh that just makes my head spin. Give me mini blocked graph paper or plain any day and let me craft my notes, ideas, and messages as I wish.

Then you have the pen. That matters even more. The pen completely emphasizes how you write. Over time I began to learn that the thinner the tip the better. The thing with pens is usually the thinner the tip, the more design-esque the pen is which means that the tip can easily break. Then I fell in love with Muji. In the US you usually find that a thin tip pen is .5 mm. Muji makes a .38 mm pen. The tips do not break. I cannot leave home without mine. Chris brings me a bundle every time he comes back from Asia. It’s my only ask when he goes away on his trips.

Put the right paper/notebook with the right pen and it is pure zen in and of itself. Somehow the cards all fall into place and I feel I can let the creativity flow (most of the time). When I saw this article titled: “Why You Should Carry a Notebook with You Everywhere” from 99U, it made so much sense. Sure you can document your world digitally, but there is something about putting pen to paper. Whether you are bored in that meeting and brainstorm how to rearrange your living room or you map out how to solve a business problem, having a notebook with you means you probably encapsulate more of your thoughts on a daily basis.

I know I often go back to my notebook at work and find I connect the dots from different ideas. Too many conversations and ideas happen in a given day (and sometimes just within an hour of a day). Putting pen to paper can make all the difference.

Find simple solutions

I am not the best airplane traveler. Chris is a trooper to put up with me. I just get cranky. I think I would have been a good match for traveling in the ’60’s minus having to dress up — or maybe I would even opt for dressing up versus the cattle farm process it feels like now.

We just came back from visiting my niece. Security was horrid. They only had one body scanner open, with two lines feeding the one scanner. Approximately twenty TSA employees for the one scanner (with quite a few standing around). It took forever. It was the slowest security line I think I have been in. Not to mention they were pushing all personal belongings through so that all the people were backed up but you no longer could see your stuff. A TSA agent was picking stuff out of bins because the personal items were so backed up. Frustrating because things were not where you left them. By the time we got to our stuff we were completely frustrated. I mean how long do you want to stand barefoot on the nastiest of floors, hoping you do not get the rub down from TSA?

By the time we got our luggage I could not NOT say something. I did and the guy said: “here our supervisor is right here.” I said something to the effect of: “how can you do this every day and night and still have such a backed up process? Folks are missing their flights because they had to wait so long, and you should never force passengers to be separated from their luggage.” His response was “you could stay with your luggage.” I said: “How? They are pushing us through and you would then never make it through security.” As I rolled my eyes and walked away.

It baffles me. Airport security is not rocket science. It is a fairly repetitive process that should be able to work like clockwork. There were a lot of better choices they could have made. All those TSA folks standing around? Open another line. Have TSA actually provide good customer service for those traveling. We do not have any other choice. Save us all some pain, and ensure that folks make their flight. Seems simple to me.

Never Apologize

Recently I came across this ad, note, whatever you want to call it from Title Nine’s founder. (Title Nine clothing). I was sucked in by the beginning quote: “Never Apologize.” I for one do not have the easiest time apologizing. So, of course, I wanted to read further. I did and I was inspired. It made me want to go out and be active, yell at the top of my lungs, take a stand for others, the list goes on. Yet, this is more than that – this is more about living life to its fullest and never feeling bad, guilty, or sorry for your thoughts, actions, or feelings.

I am loud. I take up space. I hate remaining silent. I voice my opinions. I am not going to stop.

This post today is to encourage you to never apologize. As Missy says: Do, Lead, Assert. Bring it.

My one and only Birthday Party

I believe I was in the third grade. Somehow I think it was a surprise birthday party. (My sister might remember). It was during a time when I was into “My Little Pony.” I can barely remember who was at my party, except for a few photos I still have of the day. The problem is I cannot remember who most of the people are around the table in the photo.

The strongest memory I have is also one that paints me as a brat of a kid. While I know that survival was most likely the reason I never had another birthday party (food on the table at each meal was more important than having the best birthday bash) the memory I have was one of ingratitude. Before I tell you I have one further side note. I was in third grade during a time of “name envy.” The butt of your jeans had to have the right name brand or you did not fit in. Goodwill, hand-me-downs, and non-name brands did not work. As a kid growing up in a poor household, having “Guess” on my jeans was definitely not an option.

For that sole birthday party my mom made a cake and shaped it like a pony. It was to be a “My Little Pony” cake. The problem was that my mom spent so much time trying to shape the cake (I rather doubt they had a pony cake form back then), she forgot one of the key elements to the cake. The decoration/icing. My favorite (and probably only) My Little Pony was light blue with a lavender tail and mane. All My Little Ponies had a symbol on their hind that signified which Pony they were. Mine had lavender bows on the hind. My mom however decorated the cake so there were literally bows on the entire surface of the horse.

I was MORTIFIED. No one made fun of me, but I assumed all my friends thought this is what I thought a My Little Pony looked like. My friends never mentioned it, and I never brought it up, but I do think after it was all over I said something to my mom in tears. I am sure she wanted to slap me across the face (not that she ever would have) but wow did I sound ungrateful. When really I was afraid for what I would be thought of in a world that teased so heavily, where I would never have the “Guess” triangle on my butt.

Was it too much to ask for at the time to not stand out and to just fit in? Now that is the last thing I want – to fit in. Bring on the bows!

…If you smell something, say something…

While not an avid, nightly, Daily Show with Jon Stewart watcher, I enjoyed watching him from time to time. I barely have the time to watch the few shows we do DVR, so adding a nightly show to the mix is not in the cards for us. In any case, the man is an inspiration and is hilarious. I am sad to know his show is over. In all the pleas from his fans to not end his show, I came across this quote:

“The best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.” – Jon Stewart

Ah, well put, Jon. Well put. I love it. I am a fan of saying something — always. I am that person that 99% of the time is going to call you out on your bullshit. Why live life without being honest, transparent, and authentic? That does not mean it is always easy for me. Most of the time if I do not say something it eats away at me. While I am not yet a parent, I know all the times I have been told by my own parents, or in childcare situations, that if you let kids get away with something and you let time pass then the teaching moment is over. In most cases I agree. However, what matters most is that you say something.

Be it your spouse, your friend, a family member we so often let things sit inside and agonize over them. We get frustrated, we get angry, and often if we were just open and honest with the other person it resolves itself. They might respond by telling you how grateful they are for your transparency, they might be angry (and really that is their thing to work out), or they might even laugh at you thinking how absurd that such a thing bothered you. Whatever the result, it is good to get it off our chests and not let it fester inside.

Thank you, Jon, for your wisdom and for making us laugh for the past 16 years.